Staff Profile: Joanne Cliff

There are always two sides to a story… and being a good listener has always been one of Joanne’s strongest skills.

As a new member of the team at DW Fox Tucker, Joanne Cliff brings not only her expertise in commercial and civil litigation, but also her extensive experience in Family Law.

As a former partner at Mouldens, a highly respected and officially one of the oldest firms in the State, the new partnership enables DW Fox Tucker to offer Family Law services for the first time.

“Practicing Family Law has improved my communication skills and made me more patient, because the man or woman in the street does not have the understanding of how the legal system works, so it is vital to ensure I explain both the law and process to them.”

Plus, her litigation skills are becoming a real asset in the Family Law arena.

“You have to be prepared for conflict as many parties cannot even agree on what day of the week it is, but the skill is to assist the client to find a way forward so resolution can be reached.”

In fact, with her Family Law clients, Joanne has gone that extra mile – after all, it’s everyday people, families and children that are affected.

Joanne says Family Law is about much more than being a lawyer. “There is no doubt that the scenarios in Family Law cases mean that the practice of law is never dry. Each case is different, with personalities of the parties being a big factor. When I’m acting for big companies and government, I am a lawyer. With Family Law I could also be a psychiatrist, social worker and accountant, too.”

Often other factors like domestic violence come into play, and as a member of the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia, Joanne is behind reforms to protect the vulnerable.

“Those areas are in the spotlight and will remain there for some time, as there are proposed reforms in the pipeline to do away with cross examination of a spouse by a former abusive spouse who is not legally represented.”

Apart from being a good listener, Joanne prides herself on being efficient.

“Efficiency means less cost for the client and listening skills in Family Law are important to gain a complete understanding of the client’s life.”

In Joanne’s spare time she’s either reading to improve her skills or unwinding with yoga – it gives her a different perspective and balance in her life.

As an avid reader she has gained great knowledge, expanding her negotiating skills and strategies. Joanne recommends two insightful books, “Getting to Yes” and “Getting Past No”, and has herself penned an article on Negotiated Settlement via collaborative law, which you can read on our website at

On the future of Family Law, Joanne says, “As the Family Law courts are clogged with more and more cases causing significant delays, it is only a matter of time before we have to seriously consider using more mediation, collaborative practice and arbitration to resolve cases promptly. These are alternatives to the traditional court system and will become an accepted part of the process in the near future.”

As her future with DW Fox Tucker unfolds, Joanne can already see the benefits of the new partnership.

“Working in a large firm with many other lawyers is stimulating and allows me to draw on expertise from other areas, such as tax and property law, which helps me provide an integrated service to my clients.”

A cracking multi-talented lawyer, committed to good causes, service excellence and caring for families in need… we’re delighted to welcome her to the fold!

For more information, please contact:
Joanne Cliff

Joanne Cliff
p.  +61 8 8124 1803
e.  Email me

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